With the breakneck pace of the group stages now behind us, Euro 2020 has left us in the lurch for a few days. From two, three, and sometimes even four matches a day to...well, nothing, the European Championships enters into a two-day hiatus before the Round of 16 officially begins on Saturday with a pair of intriguing matchups: Wales vs. Denmark and Italy vs. Austria.
In the absence of actual football, and with Roma remaining eerily silent so far this summer, we have no other choice but to dip our toes back into the transfer rumor waters. By now, you likely know all the names being linked with the Giallorossi, so let’s take a quick spin through the rumor mill and see what we can find!
Roma Getting Closer to Rui Patricio
The keeper that seemingly only José Mourinho wants is drawing ever-closer to the Giallorossi, as multiple sources in Italy (including the Corriere dello Sport) suggest that Roma and Wolves are closer than ever to wrapping up a deal for the 33-year-old Portuguese keeper. While Wolves remain adamant in their €10 million valuation for Patricio, Roma is holding firm with a €5 million offer, and the latest updates hold that the clubs may either meet in the middle or Tiago Pinto will sweeten the pot with a series of bonuses that could potentially bridge the divide between the value and the offer.
Patricio Update: Deal Agreed
According to the Corriere dello Sport, Roma and Wolves €6 million plus bonuses deal for Patricio, who will sign a three-year deal with Roma.
Could Neto Be Next in The Net?
Despite Mourinho's reported preference for Patricio, Roma is continually linked to a host of other goalkeepers, including Atalanta's Pier Luigi Gollini, but Spanish outlet Sports. es suggests that Barcelona's Brazilian keeper Neto could pique Roma's interest. The 31-year-old has Serie A experience from his days with Fiorentina and Juventus. According to this source, Barca value Neto at €16 million, which may be prohibitive for Roma, who reportedly has asked Barcelona about a potential loan for Neto, who is also being linked with both Milanese clubs.
Xhaka Tours Roma
While he awaits his Round of 16 clash with France (Monday in Bucharest), Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka spent his off day touring the Italian capital—which may soon be his new home. With his shock of bleached blonde hair, Xhaka wasn't hard to miss and was in fact spotted by some eagle-eyed Roma fans while touring the city. While Roma and Arsenal have yet to conclude a deal for the 28-year-old midfielder, Leggo suggests that he has agreed to a four-year deal with Roma, one that will pay €2.5 million per season. While the two clubs continue to haggle behind the scenes, it is widely believed that Roma will ultimately pay €18 million to acquire Xhaka.
UEFA Scraps Away Goal Rules for Club Competitions
BREAKING: The away goals rule will be removed from all UEFA club competitions from the 2021-22 season. pic.twitter.com/EpnTju3W3S— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 24, 2021
The lovely little quirk that propelled Roma to the semifinals of the 2017-2018 Champions League—the away goals rule—is no more. There were whispers throughout the past season that UEFA was considering scrapping the away goals rule for future club competitions, but European football's ruling body just officially did away with the somewhat controversial practice, which had been in place since 1965.
Per the official release:
Following the recommendation of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women’s Football Committee, the UEFA Executive Committee has today approved a proposal to remove the so-called away goals rule from all UEFA club competitions (men, women and youth) as of the qualifying phases of the 2021/22 competitions.
The away goals rule was applied to determine the winner of a two-legged knockout tie in cases where the two teams had scored the same number of goals on aggregate over the two matches. In such cases, the team which had scored the higher number of goals away from home was considered the winner of the tie and qualified for the next round of the competition. If the two teams had scored the same number of goals at home and away at the end of normal playing time in the second leg, extra time was played, followed by kicks from the penalty mark if no goal was scored.
Okay, so if not away goals, then how will ties be settled?
With the decision to remove this rule, ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs would be not decided on the number of goals scored away, but two 15-minute periods of extra time are played at the end of the second leg and in case the teams score the same number of goals or no goals during this extra time, kicks from the penalty mark would determine the team which qualifies to the next stage of the competition.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin provided a bit of insight into this decision:
Although there was no unanimity of views, many coaches, fans and other football stakeholders have questioned its fairness and have expressed a preference for the rule to be abolished.
The impact of the rule now runs counter to its original purpose as, in fact, it now dissuades home teams – especially in first legs – from attacking, because they fear conceding a goal that would give their opponents a crucial advantage. There is also criticism of the unfairness, especially in extra time, of obliging the home team to score twice when the away team has scored.
It is fair to say that home advantage is nowadays no longer as significant as it once was...Taking into consideration the consistency across Europe in terms of styles of play, and many different factors which have led to a decline in home advantage, the UEFA Executive Committee has taken the correct decision in adopting the view that it is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home
So there you have it. We may lose the occasional Cinderella story with this change, but it feels like a more equitable system.
Roma Planned On Colossal Mourinho Unveiling
There are some conflicting reports about the veracity of this story, but if you take Il Tempo at their word, then the club was planning a grand unveiling for their new coach, José Mourinho, at the Colosseum itself—a not-so-subtle sign of their grand ambitions.
However, sources at The Atheltic claim this was never the case (primarily because the Colosseum cannot be completely closed to the public) and that Roma isn't really planning a public spectacle for Mourinho, whether at the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, or the McDonalds just around the corner. They do, however, provide an approximate date for Mourinho's first public press conference as Roma's manager: sometime between July 4-6.
We'll get tabs on these stories as we head into the weekend, but it doesn't look like Roma will be officially completing any transfer business today, but stay tuned!